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Milan Petrović, Acting Assistant Minister Of Construction, Transport And Infrastructure – Department For Road Transport, Roads And Traffic Safety

Planned Approach To Improving Transport

The digital transformation process and increasingly acute environmental criteria create the space for the more efficient organising of domestic and international transport. Alongside these technological criteria for efficiently organising international road transport, it is also important to have high-quality bilateral agreements and investments in new infrastructure.

Even during the darkest days of the pandemic, export operations functioned well in the region, thanks to so-called “green corridors”, but various delays that could be eliminated were nonetheless recorded. This topic, along with digitalisation and the issue of sustainable transport, forms the focus of our interview with Milan Petrović, acting assistant minister in the Department for Road Transport, Roads and Traffic Safety.

How can conditions for conducting international road transport operations be improved to ensure they are more efficient and to avoid excessive paperwork and long delays caused by waiting at borders?

– One of the most effective measures for simplifying procedures at border/administrative crossings is the introduction of a one stop shop system of controls, which implies officials from all competent bodies at a border crossing being housed in a shared facility, so border controls can be conducted exclusively in that facility. The Republic of Serbia, together with North Macedonia, introduced such a system for road traffic at the Preševo-Tabanovce border crossing. The signing of a bilateral agreement between the two countries represents one of the preconditions for establishing such joint controls.

Another measure for easing cross-border transport is the construction of additional infrastructure at border/administrative cross-ings. This undertaking implies, amongst other things, expanding and reconstructing border/ administrative crossings (e.g., the construction of additional traffic lanes, parking spaces, border control facilities, the digitalisation of border crossings etc.). These kinds of measures generally require additional funds, and it is necessary to attempt to utilise the financial assistance of the EU that’s available through approved financial assistance programmes (IPA, WBIF).

The harmonising of the Republic of Serbia’s national legislation with the parts of the EU acquis related to the transport of passengers and cargo, as well as all procedures at border crossings, would also contribute to simplifying and speeding up transport.

Significant progress was made in the previous period when it comes to the use of modern technologies that ease the operations of domestic hauliers in cargo transport through the introduction of a system of the electronic discharging of foreign permits for international freight transport

The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of almost all sectors, while it also has broad applications in the field of transport and facilitating exports…

– The idea of digitalising public transport activities is being mentioned increasingly often of late. It is being implemented within the scope of this ministry, in accordance with the possibilities and by monitoring the progress of other key factors in the state administration system.

Simply digitalising activities without clear goals and control methods cannot represent a goal in and of itself, and therefore the further development of digitalisation and fiscalisation must be defined in accordance with the actual technical, organisational and financial capabilities of this industry. Compared to the previous period, significant progress has been made in terms of providing conditions for the use of modern technologies to ease the operations of domestic hauliers in cargo transport through the introduction of a system of the electronic discharging of foreign permits for international freight transport.

This ensures that domestic hauliers can electronically submit data on the permit used, after which they can, within an envisaged deadline, submit this permit and accompanying documentation for discharging in paper form (which is a legal obligation), in order to verify the data entered. On the basis of a permit discharged in such a way, the haulier gains the right to acquire further permits from the plan, in accordance with the relevant regulations. The process of issuing international permits has thereby been accelerated, while the planning of the work of domestic hauliers has been eased and an increase in the number of international transports and the competitiveness of the Serbian transport economy have been enabled.

Further movements towards digitalisation are being made via the establishment of the portal of the Directorate for Joint Affairs, where procedures are envisaged for digitalisation that have no need to use an electronic clerk’s office. Following the establishment of this part of the system (electronic clerk’s office), conditions will have been secured for the broader application of digitalised procedures in this area, while this ministry’s work will be accelerated for domestic hauliers.

Considering that the transport market is increasingly demanding, road haulage companies place a special emphasis on the complete digitalisation of their operations. Road transport companies that carry out public transport operations for passengers or cargo use digital devices in accordance with their needs when performing transport work, and these are most commonly mobile communications, digital tachographs, GPS (Global Positioning System), GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) etc., which certainly leads to the optimising of business processes, i.e., to more efficient operations, better communication with users and faster data flows.

One solution that would ease crossborder transport significantly is the construction of additional infrastructure at border/ administrative crossings, which can be achieved by relying on European funds

We are increasingly witnessing the fast pace of changes to regulations related to vehicles and environmental standards, which are particularly important when it comes to international freight transport. To what extent have our hauliers managed to harmonise their operations with these standards?

– When it comes to the fleet of the domestic transport economy, particularly with regard to international freight transport, it is already largely defined by the category of haulage vehicles of the highest standards, with the aim of establishing competitiveness on the international transport market. By applying international bilateral and multilateral agreements in the domain of road transports of passengers and cargo, with the aim of being able to perform international transport operations, domestic hauliers have completed the procurement of vehicles of the “EURO 5 safe” and “EURO 6 safe” categories, so the participation of these vehicles (21.83%) following the ministry’s decision to allocate the base quota of CEMT permits in the next year is being executed completely in this category:

Serbia faces major challenges with the aim of decarbonising and protecting the environment. The issue of decarbonisation is a cross-sectoral issue, given the existence of different sources of air pollution. In specific terms, in the domain of transport, there are various incentives provided to the economy with the aim of promoting decarbonisation. A good example is subsidised sales of new vehicles with hybrid or fully electric engines, then the subsidised purchases of new vehicles for public transport – taxis (vehicles that have fully electric, hybrid or compressed natural gas engines, or which at least satisfy the EURO 6 standard when it comes to emissions of exhaust fumes), exemptions from taxes on the use of motor vehicles for owners of fully electric motor vehicles, i.e., those that have an electric engine (hybrid vehicles) – these are just some of the environmental protection or decarbonisation measures that are being applied in the road transport sector.

Haulage vehicle emission categoryNumberParticipation
Е0 (vehicle)1963755.64%
Е1 (green)460.13%
Е2 (green and safe)630.18%
Е3 (EURO 3 safe)11923.38%
Е4 (EURO 4 safe)3230.92%
Е5 (EURO 5 safe)632717.93%
Е6 (EURO 6 safe)770421.83%